By Jonathon Van Maren
Last summer, in that hazy period between the first and second “waves” of the coronavirus when we thought life might go back to normal, I flew with my family to Alberta for work. My little girl was not yet three years old, but the airline required she wear a mask, anyway. As you can imagine, this was difficult for her. She was two. The novelty of having a cloth mask wore off swiftly, and she disliked that it impeded her breathing and was uncomfortable. Still, she kept it on for over two hours before pulling it down and fiddling with it. Even the stewardesses commented on how “good” she’d been.
Sitting next to us was a middle-aged woman who, although the lower part of her head was carefully swaddled, managed to convey her intense disapproval by glaring at us vigorously (I might have smiled at her, but I was wearing a mask). She appeared to be one of those people weaned on a pickle and whose face had never quite recovered. She finally snapped, demanding that our child be masked as this two-year-old was obviously a real risk to her life and health. I was informed that I should “know” better. I have never come so close to losing my temper on plane in my life, and hope I never get that close again. She ended up storming into the aisle to get away from my plague-spreading child and her irresponsible parent, dumping a coffee all over the ground in the process.